Research Day Features ICI Autism Work

2021-03-18
Libby Hallas and Jennifer Hall-Lande during a previous CEHD Research Day.

The Institute’s work in autism prevalence and the critical age at diagnosis are highlighted at this month’s College of Education and Human Development Research Day

The virtual event features short videos that will accompany each poster. Visitors are encouraged to leave feedback and questions for presenters through the end of March. On March 23, a live panel will discuss the intersection of social justice and research. There will also be a Three-Minute Thesis competition and a presentation of CEHD’s World Challenge 2020 winners.

Libby Hallas, an ICI project coordinator who manages the Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (MN-ADDM) Network Project, presents two posters. Hallas is pictured at left during a previous (in-person) CEHD Research Day.

The first covers autism spectrum disorder prevalence data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting differences across racial and ethnic population groups that require further study.

“Continuing to expand our surveillance area across racial and ethnic groups will give us more precise data,” Hallas said. “There is a need to further understand the possible reasons for disparities, including the issue of access to diagnostic services.”

The second poster notes disparities in children's ages when they are first identified as being on the autism spectrum. Children who are only identified through services at school start to receive intervention far later than those seen in both school and clinical settings. Racial disparities were also noted. 

“This was a network-wide project that our Minnesota team led, and it highlights the importance of early intervention. If the first comprehensive evaluation doesn’t happen until a child is school-aged, an important window may have been missed,” Hallas said. “We’re looking forward to sharing this work, and to seeing what other researchers across the college are submitting.”